Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lloyd Bentsen: dead but no phony

The liberal intelligentsia never has forgiven Lloyd Bentsen for defeating Ralph Yarbrough for the U.S. Senate back in 1970.

Even so, the Houston daily's flamboyant, racoon coat-wearing D.C.-based scribe writes today that the former Senator, Treasury Secretary and one-time presidental candidate, who passed away today at age 85, was no "phony."

Bentsen was one of only seven House members from the old Confederacy in 1949 to vote to outlaw the poll tax — a registration fee that effectively kept many minorities and poor people from voting. As a businessman in the 1960s, Bentsen insisted that a Houston hotel in which he was the primary investor be open to black customers, making it the first in the city to take that step.

Bentsen recorded an oral history with the University of Texas that won't be released to the public until 5 years from today.

The Bentsen tapes, no doubt, oughta add a few more LBJ stories to the historical record, and, if we're lucky, maybe a few Dan Quayle anecdotes.

The New York Times added:
...he is probably best remembered for one devastating riposte he delivered an hour into a deadly dull debate between the vice presidential candidates in Omaha in October 1988.

Almost as an aside, his youthful Republican opponent, Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana, remarked, "I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency."

Mr. Bentsen pounced. "Senator," he declared, contempt in his voice and admonition in his eyes, "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

In the election a month later, Mr. Bentsen and Michael S. Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee, were trounced by George Bush and Mr. Quayle. But that one moment on stage in a generally lackluster election campaign propelled Mr. Bentsen's national image from that of an unexceptional Texas Senator beholden to the oil and gas industry to that of a major national figure

[ny times]


JD Allen said...

Damn it, that means I have to live at least another five years and retain the few brain cells I have left.

Mouth of the Yellow River said...

Mouth, it sounds like you are definitely "no Jack Kennedy".